A leader of the House of Representatives on Friday said workers in the informal economy, which comprise 25.7 million of the poorest among the poor in the labor sector, should be prioritized during the extension of the deadline for the distribution of cash assistance.
Deputy Speaker and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez aired this call to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, saying that the agency should take advantage of the four-day extension in guaranteeing that the informal economy workers are able to access the cash assistance benefit.
Fernandez slammed the DSWD “for putting in place a process that made it difficult and nearly hopeless for the poorest in the labor sector to access government’s aid through the Social Amelioration Program.”
“The DSWD should now lift restrictive processes that will only deny millions of informal sector workers of the said benefits,” Fernandez said.
He also vowed support a congressional inquiry into what he described as the DSWD’s “unsatisfactory handling” of the SAP program.
“This is a dangerous time and that is the reason why the power of oversight is being seen and being implemented right now,” Fernandez said. “During a crisis, we cannot be slow. Time is of the essence” he said.
According to Fernandez, the process observed by the DSWD required beneficiaries to undergo “identification, validation and revalidation,” which he described as counterproductive.
He lamented that DSWD officials ignored the recommended process made by the Lower House only to make the country’s poor and near poor families wait longer for cash benefits urgently needed by them.
“I have to say that the House leadership’s specific recommendations to the DSWD for a more expeditious SAP process were sadly ignored,” the Laguna lawmaker said.
Workers in the informal sector were among the Filipinos under the enhanced community quarantine to have suffered most as a result of DSWD’s “questionable decision,” said Fernandez.